Rania Khalek Dispatches from the Underclass

BT’s Rania Khalek sat down with Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy secretary-general of Hezbollah, in Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah began as a resistance movement against Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and has since grown to become a regional player across the Middle East. They discussed Hezbollah’s role in Lebanon and the region as well as the group’s view on global developments. This is Qassem’s first interview with an English-language outlet based in the West since the BBC sat down with him in 2019.

Rania Khalek is joined by UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Alena Douhan who returned from a 12-day visit to Syria where she assessed the negative impact of sanctions across the country. Upon her return, she called for the sanctions, which she deems illegal and a violation of human rights, to be lifted immediately. Prof. Douhan holds the UN position of Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights.

When the war in Ukraine began, Western officials bragged that they were going to “turn the ruble into rubble” and bring Russia to its knees. Seven months later, as the war and sanctions drag on with no end in sight, it’s the Euro that is turning to rubble and Europe being brought to its knees. It turns out sanctioning your largest gas supplier with no alternative in place, following years of stagnation and an economy-destroying pandemic, isn’t a great idea. To discuss the economic fallout for the Europe and the impact it’s having under neoliberalism, Rania Khalek was joined by Prahbat Patnaik, Marxist economist, Professor Emeritus at JNU, and author of “Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present,” co-authored with Utsa Patnaik.

As the U.S. pours a seemingly endless amount of weapons into Ukraine to weaken Russia, Western officials and pundits are very casually setting us up for a potential nuclear war that would be catastrophic for humanity. Meanwhile European hardship continues to skyrocket as sanctions on Russia destroy its economy and cause gas shortages while European leaders and media demonstrate shocking levels of racism and hypocrisy. To help make sense of it all Rania Khalek is joined by Ali Abunimah, director of The Electronic Intifada and author of “The Battle for Justice In Palestine.”

Navid Zarrinnal, a Columbia Univ. PhD and Iranian scholar at Stanford University, joined Rania Khalek to help make sense of the unrest in Iran over the morality police or guidance patrol amid the death of Mahsa Amini and the way Western governments are using a legitimate grievance to promote instability in Iran. They also discuss the way the protests have been exaggerated by Western anti-Iran media, the role of hawkish exiles in promoting false narratives about a “revolution” and the actual conversation about the hijab mandate taking place inside Iran.

To discuss the history of the Arab Gulf states as Western imperial outposts and the damage they have done and continue to do to the left and progressive movements around the world, Rania Khalek was joined by As’ad Abukhalil, a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus.

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To understand what Brazil has gone through in recent years, the significance of the recent election results and what it could mean for the country and the world, Rania Khalek was joined by Michael Fox, a freelance journalist based in Latin America, former editor of NACLA and host of the new podcast Brazil on Fire.

Cuba’s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez sat down with BT’s Rania Khalek following the UN General Assembly to discuss why so many countries oppose the U.S. blockade, how U.S. official hostility towards Cuba hurts both countries and his own personal history volunteering in the liberation struggle of Angola against racist apartheid.

In his first interview with a U.S. media outlet, Venezuela’s new Foreign Minister Carlos Faria sat down with BT’s Rania Khalek during the UN General Assembly. They discussed his personal background in the Venezuelan left, how the Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected his country and how the U.S. effort to isolate Venezuela has instead isolated imperialism in the region.

he British Queen’s death has given rise to conversations about the crimes of colonialism as well as defenses and denials of it. Meanwhile the US can’t impose itself on the Global South the way it used to, it appears both at home and abroad to be an empire in decline. To discuss empires, both dead and dying, why colonialism still matters and the anti-imperialist struggle around the world, Rania Khalek was joined by Sina Rahmani, creator of East Is A Podcast.